At the moment I found out, I realised I had two choices.
Jump on the ‘my poor perfect daughter, what a dirty, cheating, low life, scum bag’ band wagon OR;
‘That sucks, have you considered how were you showing up in the relationship, and is there anything you can do to avoid that happening again?’ gravy train.
The instinctual thing to do is blame the guy, spend hours musing over what an arse he was from the beginning, and allow her to picnic in self-pity and victimhood, potentially putting her off men for life.
Then there’s the other approach. The one that I hope will mean she looks at things very differently from this point onwards.
The one that encourages her to take responsibility for her part in the ‘bad choice’ she made, the one that gets her to look at herself and her behaviour within the relationship that led to her missing the ‘warning’ signs.
The approach that means she can take her power back and realise that sure, it’s a very shitty thing that happened but it also could have been avoided, which in turn gives her hope for the future knowing that she can do things differently next time around.
She’ll stand up for herself earlier on, she’ll nip ‘bad behaviour’ in the bud and she won’t be afraid to expect to be treated with respect and kindness.
She knows now that doing ‘everything’ for someone doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you get in return. She also knows now that just because she has certain values and morals, doesn’t mean others automatically share them. She’s also learned that sometimes people’s words don’t match their actions and that you need to do more than just take people on face value.
She’s also realised that he was doing his best. He was trying to be something she wanted him to be and that he wanted to be but he just didn’t have it in him. She’s also worked out that it’s not personal.
Most importantly, she’s not playing the ‘victim’, hasn’t turned into a man-hater and has hope for the future because she understands how she needs to show up differently.
In the meantime, she’s decided not to take things quite so seriously and have some quality girl time with her mates.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk through it all and help her come out the other side with hope and positivity for what lies ahead.
I sure as hell wish someone had that conversation with me at 17. Who knows, I may not have ended up divorced with two kids at 45, still trying to work it out!